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493rd Bomb Group


The 493rd Bomb Group was the last Eighth Air Force Group to become operational, flying their first combat mission from Debach, Suffolk, on D-Day, 6 June 1944. The Group was known as "the Fighting 493rd", named by their Commanding Officer Colonel Elbert Helton, who held the post for over a year. The Group flew 157 bombing missions, their targets a range of strategic ones in Germany and tactical ones in northern France, Holland and along the Rhine. In additional the crews flew six food missions in May 1945, dropping over 400 tonnes of food into newly-liberated parts of Europe.

Commanding officers
  • Elbert Helton

    Military | Colonel | Group Commanding Officer | 493rd Bomb Group
    He led the 493rd BG to the target at Coblenz on 11 Nov. 44 493rd Group known as "The Fighting 493rd"

  • Robert Landry

    Military | Major General | Fighter Pilot 1055 single engine/Group Commander | 493rd Bomb Group
    CO 56th FG )ct 1943 - Jan 1944 CO 493rd BG ...

  • Shepler Fitzgerald

    Military | Colonel | Air Executive | 493rd Bomb Group


Part of
  • 13th Combat Bomb Wing
  • 93rd Combat Bomb Wing

    93rd Combat Bomb Wing

    Although equipped with B-24 aircraft, I believe that association with 2nd BD/AD is in error. Moreover, the Group had converted to B-17 before the designation of the 2nd Air Division. The Group carried 3rd Bomb Division markings throughout its combat...

Previously was
Not yet known
Not yet known


  • 412

    14 June 1944
    Mission #10. Bombed an airfield south of Brussels. Bob Martin flew in place of Hussong.

  • 426

    20 June 1944

  • 8th Air Force 554

    15 August 1944
    Airfields in NW Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium are the primary targets for this mission. 8th Air Force despatches a total of 932 aircraft. The raid is coordinated with 1,000 Royal Air Force (RAF) heavy bombers and Mosquitos attacking 9 airfields...

  • 8th Air Force 556

    16 August 1944
    Aircraft factories and oil refineries are the primary targets for this mission. A total of 1090 heavy bombers are despatched. See Mission Details for particulars. ...

  • 8th Air Force 556

    16 August 1944
    Aircraft factories and oil refineries are the primary targets for this mission. A total of 1090 heavy bombers are despatched. See Mission Details for particulars. ...

  • 626

    12 September 1944

  • 8th Air Force 760

    24 December 1944
    1. Decision. ...


Station Location Date
Based Debach April 1944 – 6 August 1945



  • Louis Abbamonte

    Military | Sergeant | Radio Operator | 493rd Bomb Group

  • Brian Abbott

    Military | Lieutenant | Pilot | 493rd Bomb Group

  • John Abbott

    Military | Corporal | Clerk-Typist | 493rd Bomb Group

  • Edward Abdulla

    Military | Sergeant | Radio Operator | 493rd Bomb Group

  • Jessie Abell

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 493rd Bomb Group

  • Norman Abercrombie

    Military | Lieutenant | Navigator | 493rd Bomb Group

  • Leroy Abeyti

    Military | Sergeant | Duty Non-Commissioned Officer | 493rd Bomb Group

  • Dale Abraham

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Assistant Top Secret control Officer | 493rd Bomb Group

  • Stanley Abraham

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 493rd Bomb Group

  • Marvin Ackerman

    Military | Lieutenant | Squadron Engineering Officer | 493rd Bomb Group

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  • 41-29473 Bolicat

    B-24 Liberator
    Originally assigned to 490th Bomb Group, 851st Bomb Sqdn

  • 42-32087 Old Glory/Ain't Misbehavin'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 23/1/44; Gr Island 17/2/44; Presque Is 12/3/44; Assigned 728BS/452BG [9Z-M] Deopham Green 13/3/44; Missing in Action Gdynia 6/8/44 with Louis Graber, Co-pilot: Morris Freed, Navigator: Fran Maloney, Bombardier: Nick Milcic, Flight...

  • 42-39846 Widdle Twinkle

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 18/9/43; Scott 27/10/43; Assigned 614BS/401BG [IW-M] Deenethorpe 3/11/43; transferred 487BG Lavenham 15/7/44; then to 860BS/493BG Debach, on local flight 16/8/44 with Capt Wesley Love, Co-pilot: Charles Boyce, Navigator: Fred...

  • 42-50442

    B-24 Liberator
    Crashed on Mission 554 of 15 August 1944. Target : Florennes / Jusaine airfield, Belgium

  • 42-52750

    B-24 Liberator
    Shot down by Flak on the 14 June 1944 mission to Laon, France. Crashed near Steene (Nord Department), France. Pilot : Orville H. Brewer Jr; Co-Pilot Lothrop Caldwell; Navigator Wilfred N. Hansen; Bombardier Coleman C. Duncan; Radio Operator/Gunner...

  • 42-52759

    B-24 Liberator

  • 42-94745

    B-24 Liberator

  • 42-94789

    B-24 Liberator

  • 42-94812 'Little Warrior'

    B-24 Liberator
    Assigned to 850BS, 490BG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 862BS, 493BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) mission to Fallersleben; flak hit holed fuel tanks/lines causing conflagration, flames from cockpit to rear of bomb bay. Crew Lt's J.H. Hansen, S.A...

  • 42-94927

    B-24 Liberator

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Date Contributor Update
04 February 2020 01:01:55 phil marchese Changes to description


Date Contributor Update
05 April 2019 10:03:12 Darren Jelley Changes to description

493rd BG Archives

Date Contributor Update
15 April 2018 11:58:35 Darren Jelley Changes to nicknames, aircraft types and commanding officers associations

493rd BG Museum archives

Date Contributor Update
31 July 2016 22:45:45 Darren Jelley Changes to description

The 493rd BG was never called Helton's Hellcats. the Official name was "the Fighting 493rd"
the Hellcats were the American Football team made up from 493rd BG personnel.

the Group flew 161 combat missions, and not 152 as listed.

D Jelley
493rd BG Archives

Date Contributor Update
29 May 2015 06:54:23 Robin Changes to mission associations and media associations

Robin Deutsch

Date Contributor Update
13 March 2015 15:28:14 rossingtonj Changes to type and mission associations

Type added.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:42:46 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database / The Mighty Eighth. A History of the Units, Men and Machines of the US 8th Air Force.' by Roger A. Freeman (1989). 'Air Force Combat Units of World War II' compiled by the Department of the US Air Force, edited by Maurice Maurer (1983). / Units in the UK from ETOUSA Station List, as transcribed by Lt. Col. Philip Grinton (US Army, Retired) and extracted by IWM; air division data from L.D. Underwood, based on the 8th Air Force Strength Report of 6th August 1944, as published in 'The 8th Air Force Yearbook' by Lt. Col. John H Woolnough (1980)